Silver Duke of Edinburgh comes to Bolingbroke Academy

By Ms Davidson

Congratulations to all the pupils who successfully completed the first ever Silver Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition at Bolingbroke Academy!

In total, 46 Year 10 and Year 11 pupils spend three days camping on the North Downs. Equipped with their oversized rucksacks, camping equipment and food supplies, these pupils were challenged to set up camp, undertake lengthy and rigorous walks, prepare their own food and complete all the set challenges whilst maintaining a positive sense of humour and a collaborative, supportive and encouraging team spirit.

All the pupils were required to plan and complete a series of demanding walks, successfully applying their map reading skills, ensuring they arrived at destinations at agreed times.  They had to collaborate and cooperate to ensure all tents were pitched successfully and all equipment was successfully carried to and from the site.

Whilst the challenge expedition section is regarded as one of the hardest parts of the D of E Award, the mixed conditions encountered on the Downs over the three day period made this a particularly gruelling and arduous trek.


The weather conditions presented a great challenge.  Whilst, during the days, pupils enjoyed delightful woodland walks bathed in warm sunshine, night-time conditions were particularly demanding.  Unseasonably low temperature resulted in cold, chilly evenings and nights.  Great ingenuity was shown by many pupils who resorted to wearing all their clothes to keep the icy cold at bay.  A highlight was seeing Destiny cooking her group’s evening meal, whilst wrapped in her warm dressing gown and coat over her clothes!

Expeditions are both physically and mentally demanding.   Pupils need to find the physical strength to carry their large rucksacks, packed with everything they need for the duration: food, bedding, shelter and clothes.  They also need to display high levels of self-sufficiency as they undertake tasks without adult intervention or supervision.  Additionally, they need considerable mental reserves as they encounter new challenges, cope with the unexpected and maintain high levels of resilience and determination to ensure all tasks are successfully completed. 

This was a challenging expedition. All the groups coped well with the challenges, displayed great determination and finished in good spirits. Well done to them all.

Silver Duke of Edinburgh Expedition

In addition to the expedition, these pupils will also be undertaking volunteering commitments, will be developing new skills and will be taking part in a physical activity for 1 hour a week for 6 months. It is the demanding nature of the Duke of Edinburgh Award which makes it so highly regarded around the world, by universities, by businesses and the public at large. 

So to have completed this expedition is a great achievement.  These pupils deserve our congratulations and we wish them every success as they work toward completing their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award.  

Many thanks to Mr Brooks, Ms Luetchford, Mr Rowe and Ms Iles who helped out on this trip. Without their help and support this expedition would not have been possible.

I am now looking forward to our assessed expedition on the South Downs in July.

And on a final note the quote of the expedition must go to the pupil who said “I thought that’s too steep to be a path”!

For all other news from Bolingbroke Academy please see our fortnightly Newsletter The Courageous Hound here.